During these trying times, while events have been curtailed and we’ve been told to distance ourselves from others, I have been reflecting upon observations I’ve made of society. Much of what I know about COVID-19 comes not only from TV but also friends, family, strangers, and Facebook. Yes, Facebook. I usually find myself on this social media a couple times a day just to check up on my family and friends. But in the last week or so I have been on it more and more.
While Facebook can usually be quite entertaining, it has been a great source of information…and misinformation…on the Coronavirus, as well as other topics. One thing that I notice is that many people who usually browse Facebook without commenting or sharing have recently begun to interact more. Seems like everyone has something to say. And while many posts are helpful, entertaining, or positive, there are posts that make the current situation worse because they are negative, hurtful, hateful, and full of misinformation and words that only serve to further perpetuate fear, greed, and selfishness.
In the midst of all this, I realized that this is the Lenten season for Christians. It is a time for prayer and reflection, sacrifice, forgiveness, and sharing our blessings with others. I choose to look at our situation as a wake-up call from God. Perhaps our Heavenly Father decided that we need to take a break from our normal routines and reflect on the many blessings that we all too easily take for granted. In Communist countries, store shelves are bare of food and essential everyday items that we are blessed to have. The only difference in what we are experiencing with our empty shelves is that those shelves are being restocked, food and essential goods are still being produced, and we are still free to shop…albeit online or phone-in orders.
The most un-nerving aspect of this whole Coronavirus thing is that it has brought out the worst in some people. Who in the world said that we had to run to the store and buy all the toilet paper we could get our hands on? Why buy out all the meat? Why yell at the store personnel when they run out of goods? Why throw temper tantrums and tear up the stores when products aren’t available! Yes, this happened. These people did not think about the elderly or at-risk who needed these things as a matter of life or death…or did they realize it but just didn’t care because they were self-centered, rude, and stupid.
Facebook has a plethora of depressing posts about the results of the Corona hysteria and panic, but I’m pleased to see more and more posts in the last few days showing the kindness of people toward those in need. Friends and neighbors are checking up on one another and sharing their food and supplies. Stores have begun reserving a time for elderly to shop in peace and safety from the madness of crowds. Instead of all this kindness and respect only happening during a national emergency, would it not be wonderful if this was the norm?
Parents may not be able to leave home for work, children cannot go to school, churches have cancelled services, and we are advised to distance ourselves from others. I think that God is giving us this time to get back to the basics, spend quality time with loved ones, learn simpler ways of doing things, and learn to get along with less than usual. People who dread going to work every day or wish for a day off during the busy season are now home facing an uncertain future and praying that they will return to work soon. Any job is a blessing. Parents who aren’t used to doing so are having to teach their children at home and now understand the blessing of teachers and schools. Praying at home will take the place of church service or worshipping with others, but praying at home should be the norm anyway.
Now is a good time to do spring cleaning; clean out those flower beds and plant new flowers; do some painting or repairs around the house; in lieu of eating out, enjoy cooking those recipes you’ve collected but never made; do your taxes; catch up on those movies and TV shows you’ve recorded; play games; do puzzles; do crafts; sew; take a nature hike. Go on Facebook and share jokes, inspirational quotes, prayers, pictures, helpful tips and info. There is so much that we can do during this time besides worry and be depressed about the uncertainty of it all.
With spring upon us, let us all have a renewed outlook on life. Trees have blossoms and new leaves, flowers are peeking out of the ground, birds are singing and building nests, and Mother Nature is showing her stuff. Times may be rough on us right now, but it will get better. I believe that God is wanting us to open our eyes and see the many blessings he has bestowed upon us. We must never take anything for granted or get too comfortable because what we have can always be taken away. God has blessed this great country and will continue to do so. We must always be thankful for our blessings, gracious to others, and loving…even if it is only on Facebook for now.
By: Yvonne Dempsey